Thursday, June 18, 2009

Honoring Great Grand Parents, Parsha Korach, halacha, stories

Some updates to my prayer request list. Esther bas Chana is undergoing another series of Chemotherapy and her husband Yacov Armand ben Cecilia is going to start radiation treatments next week. The teenager Rachel Sara bas Osnat has received all that the doctors can give her and needs our prayers. Cancer Patient Tzvia Simcha bas Devorah Yached cannot receive normal Chemotherapy due to her MS and needs prayers still. Avraham ben Devorah with his diabetes is right now in good shape and stable but still needs continued prayers. I am going to request updates on other people mentioned on my list for a few months as I have no contact with them or their relatives and am praying per internet request only. I know that people want to do good by passing around names to everybody but in the end I cannot take on new people because I can only say so much in the Rofaynu Prayer daily.

Honoring Parents, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, etc.

I received this topic as a number of ideas and readings that Rabbi Sy (Shimon) Eckstein Shlita gave to me. In our latest conversation the Rabbi (who has a daughter about 8 months younger than I) showed me a book by R’ Taasa Shlita from Bnei Barak about among other things as our life span increases about honoring back to the fourth generation. I would go further if genetics and modern science could keep one alive until the age of our three main forefathers, one could theoretically go back more generations. I knew a woman named Ann whom I baby-sat for when I was 13. She had a daughter who was a grandmother already in her 40’s and Ann was a great-grandmother at 60 and her mother was still alive at 85 years of age.

I mentioned to Rabbi Eckstein on my previous trip to FL that it appeared to me a Kal V’Chomer. (One of the 13 ways of learning Torah literally from the easy case to the difficult case.) If a man’s father has to honor his grandfather, all the more so for the son to honor his grandfather as by doing so, he is helping along his father in a Mitzvah and making a Kiddush HASHEM. However, the raw halacha in Yerah Deah Siman 240 only states that the son/daughter is obligated to honor his parent and nothing is made clear about the grandparent. The halacha has no obligation but the Rema gives his opinion in Siman 240 Se’if 24 that although the Mehaber (author R’ Yosef Karo) only mentions father and father-in-law, grandparents should also come to receiving honor but parents come first. This makes it very difficult for Rabbi Eckstein and myself because if we issue an opinion against the Mehaber or the Rema we would be going against the general principle that each generation from Sinai is weaker than the previous generation (although over-lapping generations can be disputed). Even though I have no proof from the Talmud or Tanach per sec, I have a hint at it. The leaders of the tribes were chosen both on merit, age and seniority in the tribe. Korach rebels against Moshe along with descendants Reuven because in the tribe of Levy, Korah was closer to Levy to be the head of the tribe of Levy as he was from Yitzchar but Elitzaphan ben Uziel the youngest brother of the previous generation was chosen. However, this is not necessarily so. We see that in the Book of Shmuel, David HaMelech is the baby in the family. It is a matter whom G-D chooses to lead the fold and not an inheritance necessarily of chronological order.

There is also a statement in Pasha Kedoshim, before the elderly (meaning 70 years and older) rise. It was funny to see in Bnei Berak the late Steipler Rebbe who was one of the Gedolei HaDor at the age of 80++ rise before ordinary 70 year olds. Rav Boyer Shlita told me that the great Rabbi used to rise before Down Syndrome children and others as he recognized that they were given this impedance as a reincarnation of a Tzaddik who had to make amends for one or two defects in the past and not to repeat the offences. He wanted the Mitzvah! I was taught by my grandmother OBM who passed away at the age of 60 to give my seat to old ladies when I rode with her and/or my mother on the NY Subway. I never forgot this lesson. It is a bit hard at my age to do this to older men and women, but I would not hesitate to do so. So if the Torah ordained the Mitzvah of honoring the elderly all the more so our ancestors.

Since we have a tradition that one must honor the elderly even if the person is an ignoramus but G-D has given him longevity of more than 70 years of age, it would appear to me all the more so if the man is a Talmud Chacham versed in the Torah and Halacha and going further than this. As our Sages wrote before the elderly rise, that this also refers to one who has acquired knowledge as if he were an elder. Your great-great grandparents have a Mitzvah of honoring their ancestors who were partners with HAKADOSH BARUCH HU in creating them. As the HOLY ONE and your forefather(s) were partners in siring your great-grandparent who honors them and your grandparent, etc. so to you must do honor to them. I would even go one step further. One part of both my great-great grandfather’s family and Grandmother Porges came from the Maharam of Padua (Padova) who in turn came from Rashi who in turn came from David who in turn came from Boaz, Nachshon, Yehuda, Yacov, etc. back to Adam and HASHEM. So if I sin, I am blackening his name and that of all the ancestors unto causing a Chillul HASHEM itself. The same would apply from my Grandfather’s side and the Maharal of Prague, Chai Gaon, Exilelarch, though all the Kings of Yisrael etc. On my mother’s side was Levy and perhaps Moshe Rabbaynu. So I have to watch my step. One false move and I dishonor their names. One good move or Mitzvah and I honor their names and bring joy before them and the heavenly court. If one was to think of it this way, one would work overtime to do Mitzvos and good deeds.

My only conclusion is that one must honor his past generations whether alive or who have passed on. (See the Peli Yoezt) Although, I am in no position to make a Psak Din on this subject for all Am Yisrael, if there was a real active Sanhedrin as in the days of Eldad, Medad and Moshe; I would ask them to make such a Gezara Chachamim. (By the way, according to Halacha – Ishto Ki Gufo he = his wife is like his body and therefore he is obligated to treat her parents with respect as stated in 240:24. That means except in the case of Alzheimer, I would not call my mother-in-law or father-in-law by their first name. I did so only once to my mother when my Step Father at the age of 100 said, I need her, but unfortunately all my shouting did not help as she had no hearing aid on at the time and it was to honor her husband that I did so. It went something like this “Mom, Mrs. Weiss” louder and “Mrs. Charlotte Weiss” almost a scream. It was to no avail though but that was extenuating circumstances as the old man could not keep up with her. Step parents are mentioned in the Halacha. Perhaps someday, I will translate this important Mitzvah from the Shulchan Aruch itself.

Further to the above, it is incumbent upon a grandparent to teach his grandchildren Torah should his son or daughter fail to rise up to the occasion and this too is a further reason for honoring the grandparents. The same would apply to great-grandparents too but considering them to be a minimum of over sixty and most likely around eighty or more the burden would be very great for them to start teaching and raising a child to Torah.

Last but not least are step-parents and step-grandparents. Nowadays there are tremendous amounts of second marriages. Some through the loss of a spouse/parent and most through divorce. A step parent too is obligated to raise the child of a spouse. I wrote a number of weeks ago about a Serach bas Asher. According to some she was an adopted daughter of Asher but since he raised her, she is considered his full daughter. I would warn people against reading tales like Snow White, Hansel and Gretel or Cinderella to children for the reason that if not pointed out that some step parents can be good and even best friends for children like my second wife and my daughter, the children can become the wicked step-child out of fear of the step parent. The Torah takes care to mention in the forbidden relationships from Lev: 18 to about 24 the step parents. One is obligated to honor the step parent and even say Kaddish for that parent and if raised by the parent sit sheva. I did not sit shiva for my step-father whom I met in the middle of the year of mourning for my biological father OBM. However, when he passed away I said Kaddish for him and from time to time have prayed at his gravesite which is now joined along with my mother’s grave. All this is separate Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 144:1, 4, 5 that requires one to honor a Talmud Chacham. In such a case my grandson would have in addition this other halacha for his father, his uncle and myself.

This appears to be a true story: B'H"

It was in the summer and a women was walking in Bnei Brak , a heavy populated city in Israel. All of sudden a car hit right into her and she died on the spot!! A huge crowd gathered around her but no one knew her. They found her identification with her name and address in it, she lived in a different city, Holon. The police claimed that according to the law they must take the body and check it with surgery and if the people wouldn’t let them the police will do it by force.

Meanwhile they sent people to check if this elderly lady has any children, relatives or any family members. But they heard from their neighbors that she has no family members. Armed the police were ready to force their way and take the body. They quickly arranged wealthy and influential people to partake in the Mitzva of the levaya (funeral) and in burying the poor old women. And as long as this matter was in their city they feel obligated to handle it themselves and they explained to the police the importance of burying the dead untouched.

By the Rabbis getting involved and explaining to chief police finally they relented and left. They started the levaya and since she had no relatives, every synagogue in Bnei Brak joined and partook in the mitzvah. And every synagogue recited Kaddish for her. Imagine the merit she had!!! It was soon known to the public why she was merited as such. Few weeks later a stranger came to synagogue that she was hit by and tells them this story.

"This woman was born in Poland and lived through the horrors of the concentration camps. And she took upon herself to bury all the Jews who had no one to bury them"

MEASURE FOR MEASURE Its true that some people are takers , and become more takers, but that should not stop you to be a giver. GIVE NO MATTER WHAT.
Binyamin Jadidi

Parsha Korach

I would like to repeat what I wrote last year in the introduction to the Parsha:

From Perkei Avos Chapter 2: He [Rabban Yochanan] said to them [his students]: Go out and see what is a good way to which a person should cleave. R. Eliezer said: A good eye. R. Yehoshua said: A good friend. R. Yossi said: A good neighbor. R. Shimon said: One who considers consequences. R. Elazar said: A good heart. He said to them, I prefer the words of Elazar ben Arach over your words, for included in his words are your words.

R. Yossi said: A good neighbor – Our Sages say that woe to the wicked and woe to his neighbor. Next to Reuven and Gad was the Kohath family of Leviim. Korach did not have to make too much of an effort to convince Datan and Aviram to rebel against Moshe. Had they have had a better neighbor with perhaps a favorable eye for Moshe, they would have never participated in a rebellion.

The Zohar mentions the spiritual Realm of the rebellion. Leviim represented the left side of HASHEM and the Cohanim the right side. Korach tried to mess up the higher spiritual order by mixing up the left and the right.

16:1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; 2 and they rose up in face of Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty men; they were princes of the congregation, the elect men of the assembly, men of renown;

Over ambition and self delusion of these great men was their down fall. These people did not believe that Moshe was appointed for his humility and his knowledge of leadership by growing up in Pharaoh’s court. They viewed him as an outsider. Could you imagine me trying to be US Secretary of Defense after having served in the Israeli leadership. Although I am not a turn coat and loyal to my country of birth and my job, I can image a riot being caused by somebody appointing me to such a position. However, the same position in Israel might be possible, but I could not accept it as I would not renounce my American Citizenship. So perhaps here my principles are greater than my personal ambition. However, Korach and the other members of the assembly had just the opposite ideas. Power corrupts and absolute power absolutely corrupts. There was a joke about Mrs. Charles Degaulle wanting to speak to her husband in the living room. “Charles.” “Mr. President” etc. until out of frustration she shouts “Mon Deux” and he answers, “Darling you can call me Charlie.” Oh course he was not really like that but he was with his nose in the air for the honor of France.

3 and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them: 'Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them; wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?'

On the surface things looked very bad. Moshe was the king, his brother was the high priest. It smelled of nepotism or what we call special protection in Israel. Although J.F. Kennedy was a beloved president, the appointment of Robert F. Kennedy as Attorney General and Edward (Teddy) becoming the Senator for MA did have a flavor of nepotism in it. We cannot say the same about John and John Q. Adams or Pelosi or the Bush family. The emotion of Jealousy, evil eye upon Moshe and even a feeling of being left out led to this. The next sentence is how Moshe felt about the whole leadership role.

4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.

If we go back to Sefer Shemos and the incident of the burning bush, we know that Moshe wanted to shake off such responsibilities. He was doing his best to avoid the appointment. Yet our Sages tell us that those who run from honor – the honor comes to them. Those who seek out honor like Korach the honor avoids them.

5 And he spoke unto Korah and unto all his company, saying: 'In the morning the LORD will show who are His, and who is holy, and will cause him to come near unto Him; even him whom He may choose will He cause to come near unto Him.

Moshe is sort of giving G-D the democratic vote here on the issue. Explaining further what I wrote above: In reality, Moshe knew that G-D had chosen him even though at the burning bush on Mr. Sinai, he was sort of rebelling against G-D saying “Chose whom you want (but please leave me out of this).” Many times people don’t want power but once given it, they like to hold on to it. Rav Boyer Shlita told our Kollel these thoughts began going to his head after he became the mayor of Bnei Berak. Moshe did not want the power because he was humble but he did not want to lose it in a dispute that was far from the sake of heaven. For to serve the L-RD, one had to do things purely for the sake of heaven and that was not Korach’s driving force but just plain raw power.

6 This do: take you censors, Korah, and all his company;

Why did he see fit to speak to them thus? He said to them, “Among the nations, there are various forms of worship and many priests, and they do not all gather in one temple. We, however, have only one God, one ark, one Torah, one altar, and one kohen gadol, but you two hundred and fifty men are all seeking the kehunah Gedolah ! I too would prefer that. Here, take for yourselves the service most dear-it is the incense, more cherished than any other sacrifice, but it contains deadly poison, by which Nadab and Abihu were burnt. Therefore, he warned them, ”and it will be the one whom the Lord chooses-he is the holy one“ [meaning,] that he is already in his [state of] holiness. Is it not obvious that [the one] who is chosen is the holy one? Rather, Moses told them, ”I am telling you this so that you should not be found guilty. For the one He chooses will survive, and the rest of you will perish." - [Mid. Tanchuma 5, Bamidbar Rabbah 18:8]

Rashi uses “among the nations” because there multitudes are present. Just this week in Iran over a million people come out to political demonstrations. But among Am Yisrael where we are few in numbers, quality replaces quantity and a small around of people are priests. (An interesting aside note that my Yeshuv is situated in the area where the Maccabees lived and they were Cohanim. Our Yeshuv has a disproportional amount of Cohanim to that of the regular population of Yisrael and Leviim.)

7 and put fire therein, and put incense upon them before the LORD to-morrow; and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy; ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.'

[interpreted Midrashically as:] I have told you a very great thing. Were they not fools? For he warned them about it and they [still] took upon themselves to offer [the incense]. They sinned at the cost of their lives, as it says, “the censers of these who sinned at the cost of their lives” (17:3). But what did Korah, who was astute, see [to commit] this folly? His vision deceived him. He saw [prophetically] a chain of great people descended from him: Samuel, who is equal [in importance] to Moses and Aaron. He [Korah] said, “ For his sake I will be spared. [He also saw] twenty-four watches [of Levites] emanating from his grandsons, all prophesying through the holy spirit, as it says, ”all these were the sons of Heman“ (I Chron 25:5). He said, ” Is it possible that all this greatness is destined to emanate from me, and I should remain silent?“ Therefore, he participated [in the rebellion] to reach that prerogative, for he had heard from Moses that they would all perish and one would escape [death]: ”the one whom the Lord chooses-he is the holy one.“ He erred in thinking that it referred to him. He, however, did not ”see" properly, for his sons repented [and thus did not die at that time]. Moses, however, foresaw this. - [This is found in Mid.] Tanchuma [Korach 5, Num. Rabbah 18:8] you have taken too much upon yourselves. [The simple interpretation is:] You have taken too great a task upon yourselves, to rebel against the Holy One, blessed is He.

When HASHEM appoints a Prophet it is not a political appointment or a popularity contest or a book of tricks to stay in power by avoiding elections. Sometimes it is not good to ‘know’ the future because without completely clear prophecy, one sees only a partial picture.

8 And Moses said unto Korah: 'Hear now, ye sons of Levi: 9 is it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them; 10 and that He hath brought thee near, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee? and will ye seek the priesthood also?

If I were to modernize the story, I would have Moshe act as chief of the Securities Exchange Commission talking to the scoundrel Bernie Madoff. It is not enough for you to have headed the NASDAQ you now want to become popular through a fraudulent Ponzi Scheme? On that you will fall from greatness and lose everything you have, a nice home, a loving wife at your side, children, a brother and the rest of your days you will rot in jail and pay back in the next world and will be lucky to reincarnate if at all. The principle is the same. A person with influence, power, established as a leader goes and throws it all away for mere false dreams and bought love that will run out on him as it is based on sheker (lies/falsehoods) and not the Emmet (truth) that stands on a firm foundation. [In Hebrew the letters Shin Kof Resh stand on one foot so to say while Aleph Mem Tav stand on a solid foundation of two feet.] In Perkei Avos it is written and detailed by a Medrash that the spot where the earth opened up its mouth to swallow Korach, one can hear the 250 still yelling in Hebrew “Moshe Emmet v’ Toraso Emmet”.

11 Therefore thou and all thy company that are gathered together against the LORD--; and as to Aaron, what is he that ye murmur against him?' 12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; and they said: 'We will not come up; 13 is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, but thou must needs make thyself also a prince over us? 14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards; wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.' 15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD: 'Respect not Thou their offering; I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.' 16 And Moses said unto Korah: 'Be thou and all thy congregation before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to-morrow; 17 and take ye every man his fire-pan, and put incense upon them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his fire-pan, two hundred and fifty fire-pans; thou also, and Aaron, each his fire-pan.' 18 And they took every man his fire-pan, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood at the door of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 And Korah assembled all the congregation against them unto the door of the tent of meeting; and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation. 20 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 21 'Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.' 22 And they fell upon their faces, and said: 'O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt Thou be wroth with all the congregation?' 23 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 24 'Speak unto the congregation, saying: Get you up from about the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.' 25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke unto the congregation, saying: 'Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be swept away in all their sins.' 27 So they got them up from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side; and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, and their sons, and their little ones. 28 And Moses said: 'Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works, and that I have not done them of mine own mind. 29 If these men die the common death of all men, and be visited after the visitation of all men, then the LORD hath not sent Me. 30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the ground open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down alive into the pit, then ye shall understand that these men have despised the LORD.' 31 And it came to pass, as he made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground did cleave asunder that was under them. 32 And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit; and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them; for they said: 'Lest the earth swallow us up.' 35 And fire came forth from the LORD, and devoured the two hundred and fifty men that offered the incense.

17:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 ‘Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the fire-pans out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are become holy; 3 even the fire-pans of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, and let them be made beaten plates for a covering of the altar—for they are become holy, because they were offered before the LORD—that they may be a sign unto the children of Israel.’ 4 And Eleazar the priest took the brazen fire-pans, which they that were burnt had offered; and they beat them out for a covering of the altar, 5 to be a memorial unto the children of Israel, to the end that no common man, that is not of the seed of Aaron, draw near to burn incense before the LORD; that he fare not as Korah, and as his company; as the LORD spoke unto him by the hand of Moses.

6 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying: ‘Ye have killed the people of the LORD.’ 7 And it came to pass, when the congregation was assembled against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tent of meeting; and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. 8 And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting. 9 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 10 ‘Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.’ And they fell upon their faces. 11 And Moses said unto Aaron: ‘Take thy fire-pan, and put fire therein from off the altar, and lay incense thereon, and carry it quickly unto the congregation, and make atonement for them; for there is wrath gone out from the LORD: the plague is begun.’ 12 And Aaron took as Moses spoke, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people; and he put on the incense, and made atonement for the people. 13 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. 14 Now they that died by the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, besides them that died about the matter of Korah. 15 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tent of meeting, and the plague was stayed.

16 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 17 ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of them rods, one for each fathers’ house, of all their princes according to their fathers’ houses, twelve rods; thou shalt write every man’s name upon his rod. 18 And thou shalt write Aaron’s name upon the rod of Levi, for there shall be one rod for the head of their fathers’ houses. 19 And thou shalt lay them up in the tent of meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you. 20 And it shall come to pass, that the man whom I shall choose, his rod shall bud; and I will make to cease from Me the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against you.’ 21 And Moses spoke unto the children of Israel; and all their princes gave him rods, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods; and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. 22 And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tent of the testimony. 23 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and put forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and bore ripe almonds. 24 And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel; and they looked, and took every man his rod.

25 And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Put back the rod of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept there, for a token against the rebellious children; that there may be made an end of their murmurings against Me, that they die not.’ 26 Thus did Moses; as the LORD commanded him, so did he.

27 And the children of Israel spoke unto Moses, saying: ‘Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. 28 Every one that cometh near, that cometh near unto the tabernacle of the LORD, is to die; shall we wholly perish?’

18: 1 And the LORD said unto Aaron: 'Thou and thy sons and thy fathers' house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

[God did not say directly to Aaron but] He said [this] to Moses to say to Aaron (Sifrei Korach 17) and caution him regarding regulations for the [benefit of the] Israelites, that they should not enter the Sanctuary. You, your sons and your father’s house. They are the sons of Kohath, who was Amram’s father. — [Midrash Aggadah] Shall bear the iniquity associated with the Sanctuary. I impose upon you the punishment of the outsiders who sin regarding the sacred objects entrusted to you; the Tent, the ark, the table, and the sacred vessels. You shall sit and warn any unauthorized person who attempts to touch [the sacred objects]. and you and your sons. The kohanim . shall bear the sin associated with your kehunah. For it is not given over to the Levites. You shall warn the Levites who might inadvertently err, that they may not touch you during your [performance of the] service.

As with most jobs comes responsibilities. The simple cleaning person at a factory has to answer to the chief in charge of clean-up maintenance who his under the person responsible for all maintenance of the plant. If the CEO and CFO of a company are missing, the average worker will continue his work for months without noticing a change but if there is no paper in the toilets and the garbage cans are full, the average work to the manager knows and feels it. So on the surface we see these beautiful garments of the Cohain Gadol, yet he could never lift his hands over his head while he was wearing the Mitzneffet (Mitre) on his head because the Tzitz had on it “Kodesh Le HASHEM” written on it. The priests had to be pure unto the 4th grade of Tumay for the Korbanos while most of the Bnei Yisrael was only pure to the 2nd grade to enter the Beis HaMikdash and the Leviim unto the 3rd grade. So it was easy for iniquities to enter into the Kahuna and that is what this Pasuk warns us.

2 And thy brethren also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou near with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee, thou and thy sons with thee being before the tent of the testimony.

After the incident with Korach, this is reconfirming that the Leviim as a whole did not lose their holy status.

3 And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the Tent; only they shall not come nigh unto the holy furniture and unto the altar, that they die not, neither they, nor ye.

The Leviim were used as guards after the Temple was built, singers, flayers of sacrifices, maintenance personal of the Beis HaMikdash such as washing the blood, repairing the doors and even going in blindfolded into the Holy of Holies for plain maintenance work or with a Cohain for this. Their job was not simple but they were also school teachers of Torah among the nation and tithe collectors from poor farmers and towns who could not afford to travel to Yerushalayim. They would sing the song/Psalm each day for the sacrifice as we say at the end of the service and they would recite Hallel during the Korban Pessach and Songs, Psalms and prayers for the other sacrifices and perhaps even hand the wood to the Cohanim for putting on the Misbayach (altar).

4 And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tent of meeting, whatsoever the service of the Tent may be; but a common man shall not draw nigh unto you. 5 And ye shall keep the charge of the holy things, and the charge of the altar, that there be wrath no more upon the children of Israel.

This is the guard duty of the Leviim. I am sure that just as today we have deranged individuals, so too in Temple and Mishkan times there were always a few who wanted to break through or thought themselves Moshiach, Cohain Gadol, Moshe, etc.

6 And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; for you they are given as a gift unto the LORD, to do the service of the tent of meeting. 7 And thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priesthood in everything that pertains to the altar, and to that within the veil; and ye shall serve; I give you the priesthood as a service of gift; and the common man that draws nigh shall be put to death.'

… 21 And unto the children of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they serve, even the service of the tent of meeting. 22 And henceforth the children of Israel shall not come nigh the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites alone shall do the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, and among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithe of the children of Israel, which they set apart as a gift unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said unto them: Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.'

Now what gifts and payments did the Leviim get for their services?:

25 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 26 'Moreover thou shalt speak unto the Levites, and say unto them: When ye take of the children of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall set apart of it a gift for the LORD, even a tithe of the tithe. 27 And the gift which ye set apart shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshing-floor, and as the fulness of the wine-press. 28 Thus ye also shall set apart a gift unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and thereof ye shall give the gift which is set apart unto the LORD to Aaron the priest. 29 Out of all that is given you ye shall set apart all of that which is due unto the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. 30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them: When ye set apart the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshing-floor, and as the increase of the wine-press. 31 And ye may eat it in every place, ye and your households; for it is your reward in return for your service in the tent of meeting. 32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, seeing that ye have set apart from it the best thereof; and ye shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, that ye die not.'

An Aguda (Abandoned Wife) Story comes to an end

Happy Ending Of A Divorce Saga by Hillel Fendel

( A man who refused to give his wife a divorce for four years, even though he was jailed for it, suddenly agreed this week – and the woman is now freed.

The drama occurred in and outside of the Jerusalem District Rabbinical Court this week. The estranged hareidi-religious couple separated several years ago because of the husband’s violence towards his wife and children. Though the court ruled that he must serve his wife with a get (Jewish divorce), he refused to do so for four years. At one point, the court took the unusual step of ruling that the divorce must be forced, by jailing the husband until he agrees, but this did not work either.

A key Halakhic [Jewish legal] requirement in the get process is the complete acquiescence of both parties to the proceedings.

In the meanwhile, the case received an extra complication when the husband was hospitalized in a mental institution and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

A few days ago, the dramatic turnabout occurred: The police rabbi in the Russian Compound police headquarters in Jerusalem managed to convince the recalcitrant husband that it was time to put an end to the saga and give the desired divorce.

The wheels began turning immediately, before he could change his mind. Court Secretary Moshe Biton managed to call a session for the very next day, coordinating it with the husband, wife, their lawyers, and others who had to be present.

The rabbinical court session took several hours, yet it solved what normally takes months: finding an agreed-upon manner in which to divide the property and arranging custody over the children. Court President Rabbi Yifrach also held a long discussion with the husband, ensuring that he understood the proceedings and was qualified by Halakhic standards to give the get.

In the afternoon hours, the actual get was written and given, in the presence of two witnesses from the Eida Hareidit, and the woman – considered until now an agunah, a “chained woman” = is now “unshackled” and free to remarry.

Israel's Borders - Halachic Position

Some interesting correspondence from 1980/82 between the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits after the Six Day War regarding the halachic position of the areas liberated after the Six Day and Yom Kippur wars.

Believe it or not Sean Finnegan gave me this on-line Torah site.

A true story with a Mussar Message: Do what you can do with what you have left thanks to Gene Alberts

On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Aver Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches.

To see him walk across the stage on step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an unforgettable sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly , puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. The n he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.

By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play.
But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap- it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do.

People who were there that night thought to themselves: “We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage, to either find another violin or else find another strings for this one.”

But he didn’t. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before. Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just there strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that.

You could see him modulating, changing, recomposing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was DE-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.
When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.

He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his bow to quiet us and then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive , reverent tone, “ You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard. And who knows? Perhaps that is the way of life, not just for artists bur for all of us.

So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have , and then when that is no longer possible , to make music with what we have left.

Binyamin Jadidi


It's a Torah prohibition to cook meat and milk together. This prohibition is only for milk and meat originating from Kosher animals. Non-Kosher meat from a Kosher animal is also included in this prohibition. (A Kosher animal has split hooves and chews its cud.) It's also a Torah prohibition to derive any benefit from such meat and milk that was cooked together. If the ingredients of pet food include meat and milk, one has to ascertain they were not cooked together or were not from Kosher animals. Otherwise one may not feed such food to ones pets. One may feed ones dogs non-Kosher meat and other non-Kosher food.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 46:5

In Parshat Shelach (the Torah Reading this week in Israel, next week in the Diaspora) we learn about the Mitzva of separating Challah from dough made from any of the 5 types of grain: wheat, barley, oats, spelt or rye. Challah should be separated before the dough is baked; one may not eat the dough before separating Challah.
If Challah was not separated before the dough is baked, then the baked goods are forbidden to be eaten until Challah is separated from them. The Mitzva of separating Challah rightfully belongs to the housewife. However, if waiting for the housewife would cause the dough to spoil, then anybody above Bar/Bat Mitzva may separate Challah. The piece of Challah that was separated should be burnt. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35
Since nowadays we don't have fires readily available, my Rabbi suggested we freeze the Challah (in a well marked container that nobody should eat from it) and whenever there's a bonfire (Lag B'Omer and Erev Pessach) we should burn the accumulated Challah.

On each of the 4 corners of a Tallis there are 4 strings threaded through the hole. The resulting 8 strings are knotted and twisted one-third of their length, and two-thirds is left as tassels. If one of the 8 tassels gets cut off - even completely - the Tzitzit are still Kosher. If two of the 8 tassels get cut off the Tzitzit may no longer be Kosher. A tassel shorter than 4 "thumbs" - about 8-10 cm is considered "cut off". Each tassel of the Tzitzit is made of multiple strands of wool twisted together. If Tzitzit start untwisting then the frayed section doesn't count as part of the minimal length. If the Tzitzit get ripped out of the hole they are hanging on, they cannot be put back in; they have to be untied and then re-tied after the hole is repaired. If a Tallis rips into 2 pieces - or a corner gets ripped off - then the Tzitzit on the smaller piece have to be re-tied after the pieces are sewn back together. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 9:13, 15.

It's a Torah prohibition to slaughter a calf and its mother on the same day. It does not matter which animal was slaughtered first. Even if the calf and its mother belong to 2 different people, it's still prohibited. Even though it's prohibited, the meat of both animals is Kosher. It does not matter how old the calf is. One may slaughter a calf and its grandmother on the same day. If later on the same day one slaughters the mother/daughter, one transgresses 2 Torah prohibitions.
It's a debate if this prohibition applies to a calf and its father - even if one is 100% sure of the pedigree of the calf. As in most of Jewish law, the day starts at sunset and ends the following day at dark. There is no prohibition eating meat from a calf and its mother on the same day. Source: Rambam, Hilchos Shechitah (12:2)

In Parshat Korach (the Torah Reading this week in Israel, next week in the Diaspora) we learn about the bitter end of people who argue with Torah authorities.
A person has to respect and honor his Rav - his Torah teacher - more than his parents; his parents look after his needs in this world and his Rav is ensuring him a good place in Olam Haba (Heaven). Degrading a Torah scholar is so severe that a person can loose his place in Olam Haba (Heaven) for it. One needs to stand up when ones Rav enters the room. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 144:1, 4, 5

This Shabbat is "Shabbat Mevarchim". Rosh Chodesh Tamuz is on Monday and Tuesday. There's an ancient custom to bless the upcoming month on the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh, before Mussaf. This is not to be confused with Sanctifying the Month that was done by the Av Bet Din when the new moon appeared. Nevertheless, the custom is to stand when the Chazzan announces which day(s) will be Rosh Chodesh, since the Sanctification of the Month was done while standing. Source: Mishna Berura 417:1 (1) Shabbat Shalom uMevorach, - Danny

Rabbi Edward Davis Shlita on Practical Halacha

It is forbidden to open and close an umbrella on Shabbos. It is likewise forbidden to carry an umbrella that was opened before Shabbos, even where there is an Eruv and normally one can carry things on Shabbos. Neither should a Jew carry an umbrella that was opened before Shabbos or by a non-Jew on Shabbos for himself. (This is like building and dismantling a tent – a Melacha of Shabbos) However, children can put together blocks and interconnecting puzzle pieces as these are meant to be built and taken apart. (A similar halacha is found in the 2nd chapter of Mishnayos Shabbos which Ashkenazim say before the Evening Prayer every Erev Shabbos.)

Inyanay Diyoma

My personal analysis of the events since Friday. Iran’s election results are in the end the lesser of two evils. Why? Because so-called moderates in the Moslem world is for example Dr. Abu Mazen who received his doctorate in Moscow on the Denial of the Shoah Thesis. The same with the Iranian moderate. He is moderate because he wants to talk with the USA while continuing on the missile and nuclear project.

Mr. Netanyahu’s speech this week was in one way terrible as it opened up a Pandora’s Box called a fictitious State but it does not give them any conditions that they will accept. What it said was OK Obama now break your head against the wall.

Sometimes in my Baritone voice I feel like singing this:

From Teresa W. Quote of the Week: “The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.” Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)

Report: Iranian missile threat on US by 2015 - Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center says Islamic republic, with support from outside sources, within six years could produce ocean-leaping missile capable of hitting United States,7340,L-3730265,00.html

Tel-Aviv suicide bombing at the Dolphin disco June 1, 2001

21 people were killed and 120 were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a disco near Tel Aviv's Dolphinarium along the seafront promenade just before midnight on Friday, June 1. The terrorist mingled with a large group of teenagers, who were standing in line to enter the disco. While still in line, he detonated the explosives strapped to his body. The explosive charge contained a large number of metal objects - including balls and screws - designed to increase the extent of injuries.

Most of those killed were youngsters from the former Soviet Union who had planned to attend a dance party at the Dolphin disco. Others who had been waiting in line to enter an adjacent nightclub known as the Pacha were also caught in the blast. The 'Palestinian Hizbullah' claimed responsibility for the attack. In the wake of the bombing, the IDF tightened its closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and security officials called on all Palestinian workers inside Israel to immediately return to their homes in the territories. 17 people were killed immediately in the suicide bomb attack, and 4 died subsequently from their wounds. Thanks to Lukas

A NEW PRETEXT FOR ANTI-SEMITISM - THE "SETTLEMENTS" by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator

Anti-Semites in the Obama administration are making demands of Israel, knowing full well these demands cannot be met. This will give them the pretext they desire to harm Israel.

It is not just that these anti-Semites seek to damage US-Israeli relations. They really hope to force Israel to withdraw to what have been called "The Auschwitz" borders of pre-1967 - as the first step in their malevolent visions of completing Hitler/s "Final Solution".

Those with an ASA (Anti-Semitic Agenda) are fully cognizant that "natural growth" in the settlements can’t be stopped. They also know that Netanyahu’s coalition would crumble if he agreed to do such a thing.

It therefore really doesn’t matter what Netanyahu says. It will be rejected by the anti-Semites so they can have a pretext to bash Israel to their hearts’ content.

A NEW PRETEXT FOR ANTI-SEMITISM - THE "SETTLEMENTS" by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator

Anti-Semites in the Obama administration are making demands of Israel, knowing full well these demands cannot be met. This will give them the pretext they desire to harm Israel.

It is not just that these anti-Semites seek to damage US-Israeli relations. They really hope to force Israel to withdraw to what have been called "The Auschwitz" borders of pre-1967 - as the first step in their malevolent visions of completing Hitler’s "Final Solution".

Those with an ASA (Anti-Semitic Agenda) are fully cognizant that "natural growth" in the settlements can’t be stopped. They also know that Netanyahu’s coalition would crumble if he agreed to do such a thing.

It therefore really doesn’t matter what Netanyahu says. It will be rejected by the anti-Semites so they can have a pretext to bash Israel to their hearts’ content.

Remember the Mickey Mouse Club: AOL reported this week that: Annette Funicello Battling New Health Crisis America's sweetheart Annette Funicello is facing two devastating new health crises -- she's losing her vision and her voice. COURAGEOUS Annette has battled MS for 13 years, trying to live as normal a life as possible. She is supposedly close to a grave condition.

Chavez spreading revolution in the States. In a direct message I received from Tito the Builder he reports: I was able to attend the Chirilagua Festival in Alexandria this weekend, which was sponsored by the United Workers Union and the Democratic Party, an unlikely place for me, the hard-hatted conservative. I was there to help a friend, a Republican candidate campaigning for delegate. The festival was full of people from Central America and many other countries. I saw many families with small children. Overall the site and the presentation were nice.
Helping my friend with the campaign outside, I was talking with many Latinos as they approached the festival. There were two things that made me a little suspicious:
I saw a lady wearing a Venezuelan hat and a rojo rojito polo shirt (typical dressing for Chavistas, supporters of Chavez). I spoke with her and she confirmed that she was "200% in support of Chavez," and she felt she had no need to hear about the candidate I was there to help. Later I saw another lady dressed with the same outfit at the front desk talking with the people that were part of the organization and she also stated she was a Chavista.
As the day continued I saw other people approaching the festival and this time I saw another person with a polo shirt of the fmln (Salvadorian Communist Party). I don’t want to make conclusions or analysis here, but it is strange that we are seeing many Latinos with the emblems of Communist/Socialist parties that are already in power in Venezuela and in Salvador.
Why were these people talking with the organizers of the event? Is this event infiltrated by Communists? Or maybe a way to appeal to many Latinos? I would like to know, what is the role of Communist foreign political parties in the USA? Chavez money and revolution has infiltrated Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia. We in America have to open our eyes, because I believe the Communist imported Chavez revolution is already rooting itself in America. The Democrats are clearly courting the Latino community for support and voters, but in their quest they are also picking up contingencies of some people who came to this country with socialist and communist agendas. Innocent and unaware Democrats are not realizing that they may be trying to grow their support at dangerous cost and pay back may be Hell. They are playing with fire.

From Brooklyn: Illegal immigrants getting $100,000,000 a year in only FL you can image how many billions this costs you and I as taxpayers. Since I earn and spend money in the States, I am subject to income tax, sales tax, property tax and whatever they throw at me.

From Hershel regarding Netanyahu and Iran:

For my LA readers: Cost $10 per person $5 Valet UPDATE: Missile Crisis Briefing 2009 From Israel and Washington D.C.

The EMP Catastrophe Proliferating nuclear threats to the U.S., Israel and other allies

Monday, June 29, 2009 ● 7:00 p.m.

Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard
11461 Sunset Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90049

As terrorist regimes acquire nuclear capability, fears of the devastation wrought by a nuclear attack are on the rise. However, a seldom discussed, yet more insidious threat looms on the horizon - the risk of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack - a catastrophe that could instantly transform America from a superpower to a pre-industrial society.

Such an attack would destroy the U.S. electrical grid and lead to infrastructure failure that would result in food shortages, starvation, disease, and civil unrest. Of course, Israel, Europe, Japan and other countries are equally vulnerable and could suffer severe disruptions to their economic, healthcare and security systems.

The Congressional EMP Commission recently released their final report - verifying both the danger and the fact that Israel and the United States have not taken adequate steps to protect themselves from the effects of a nuclear EMP Strike.

Further, both countries are priority targets for destruction.

Please join us for an informative panel discussion of today's nuclear threats.

Panelists will include Center for Security Policy founder Frank Gaffney, EMPACT, Israel Missile Defense Association director Avi Schnurr, and former Commanding General of the United States Army Intelligence Center, Major General James (Spider) Marks. Writer and activist Janet Levy will moderate the panel for this critical topic.

From Jeanne:

Michael Oren the new US Ambassador to Israel:

Al Qaeda misses assassinating a big anti-semite and the majority of Jews still vote the Democratic Party:

Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei said Wednesday, June 17: "it is my gut feeling that Iran would like to have the technology to enable it to have nuclear weapons – both as a message to their neighbors and the world, don't mess with us" and as the road to the prestige of being recognized as a major Middle East power.

Iran plans to crack down on their own population:

Remember the criticism about mass building of private houses looking the same back in the 1960’s?

Clinton vs. Lieberman in Bare Knuckles Fight over Yesha by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu (

The relationship of “good friends agree to disagree” took a tough test Wednesday afternoon as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman standing at her side, told reporters, "We want to see a stop to the settlements.”


Have a peaceful and Torah filled Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli